Many Oregon school districts facing shortage of substitute teachers
(KPTV) - Heading into the new school year, Oregon school districts are facing a severe shortage of substitute teachers.
The shortage of qualified substitutes got so bad last year that the state relaxed its requirements for substitute teachers with a temporary administrative order that allows anyone over age 18 to fill in as a teacher. The administrative order will be in effect for this school year as well.
Leslie Polson, President of the Oregon Substitute Teachers Association, said the past couple of years have been particularly hard on substitute teachers, and the current shortage is a product of that.
“People were fired. They were just let go and they did not have access to unemployment or money. So people often got other jobs,” said Polson. “Some people decided they didn’t want to get vaccinated, so they said ‘forget it.’”
That left school districts scrambling to find replacements, which in some cases meant using people without college degrees to fill in as teachers
“Basically our principals recommended some of our strongest classified staff that they felt could come in and step in. They’re familiar with our students, familiar with our schools, and familiar with our curriculum,” said Kevin Noreen, Human Resources Director for the Forest Grove School District.
Despite the shortage of qualified substitutes, Polson and her organization opposed the relaxed requirements.
“We advocated against it, because we felt it was driving down the low standards of the profession,” said Polson.
Districts expect the substitute teacher shortage to continue this school year. The state’s temporary order relaxing requirements for substitute teachers will expire June 30.
Copyright 2022 KPTV-KPDX. All rights reserved.